Washington Redskins: 15 greatest running backs in franchise history

Stephen Davis, Washington Redskins. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Stephen Davis, Washington Redskins. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) /
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Ladell Betts, Washington Redskins
Ladell Betts, Washington Redskins. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images) /

Ladell Betts might be the greatest Redskins running back who was never great.

In college, he was close. He finished his career with the Iowa Hawkeyes as the No. 2 all-time leading rusher for the team. His efforts were enough to get him drafted in the second round of the 2002 NFL Draft by Washington.

Injuries hurt Betts early on and they eventually forced the team to trade for Broncos running back Clinton Portis ahead of the 2004 NFL season.

Despite his starting role being usurped, Betts remained on the team. For two full seasons, he served as a backup, until his first true chance to shine came in 2006. Portis was placed on injured reserve in November, giving Betts the reigns for the rest of the year.

Betts played well with this opportunity. He became the first and only Redskins running back in history to have two consecutive 150-yard games. Betts ended up breaking the 1,000-yard mark, rushing for 1,154 yards and four touchdowns on 245 carries.

He wasn’t the fastest back, but with good size, decent lateral quickness and vision honed by years learning as a backup, he relished his time under the lights.

For Betts, however, the 2006 NFL season was where his starting stint ended. He’d be a backup in Washington for three more seasons before joining the New Orleans Saints for a year in 2010. Betts’ longevity, combined with his competence when given a chance, gives him the edge over the rest of the field.